Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Earth Opened Up and Swallowed A Man!

As 37 year old Jeff Bush from Tampa, Florida lay in his bed on a Thursday evening, not unlike any other evening, he was unfortunately unaware that this was to be his last evening on the surface of this planet! 

A relentless and unwavering sinkhole opened up under his bedroom floor consuming Jeff and and everything in his room. His brother tried to rescue him and stated that "Everything was gone!" 

When the ground begins opening up beneath our feet and plunging unsuspecting mortals into the abyss, some may be tempted to reach for the Bible and start predicting the End of Times. But biblical as the story sounds, the sinkhole – as the phenomenon is called – is was not an act of God but of geology.

In the language of geologists, the process that causes sinkholes is "the creation of a void which migrates towards the surface". In the language of the layman, when there's not enough solid stuff left underneath to support what is left of the loose stuff above, the whole lot collapses. The resulting depressions characterise what is known as a karst landscape, in which hundreds or even thousands of relatively small sinkholes form across an area that, seen from the air, can appear almost pock-marked!

In the UK, Dr Anthony Cooper -  a principle geologist at the British Geologist Survey, has commented that no deaths attributable solely to naturally formed sinkholes have been recorded in recent times. He does proclaim, however, since extremes of sinkhole-affecting weather – long periods of drought, for example, followed by spells of unusually heavy and persistent rain – are widely predicted to become more frequent as the Earth's climate changes, "we would certainly expect there to be more sinkholes in the future".

 It could be only a matter of time before Britain buries a Jeff Bush!

Source: The Guardian

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